The Quiet Little Dutch Invader

Fokker's new jetliner scores a $3 billion sale in the U.S.

When Frans Swarttouw took over the sleepy Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker a decade ago, he predicted the little company would survive only "if it dares to start digging in the front garden of the American airplane manufacturers." Never has the garden been greener than now. With U.S. airlines expanding their fleets and replacing aging jets, the two major American aircraft makers, Boeing and McDonnell Douglas, have enough orders to keep them busy through the early 1990s.

The backlog has created a perfect opening for Fokker, which started producing the compact Fokker 100 jetliner in 1987. The company scored a major coup...

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